Developing a Research Question
Choosing and developing a research question is often the hardest part of getting started with research. You have to juggle so many things:
- Choosing something that you’re interested in
- Choosing something that fits the parameters of your assignment
- Choosing something that is neither too narrow or too vague
Start with a Broad Topic
By moving from general to specific concepts within your research plan, you gain a more thorough understanding of your topic.
Then: Gather Background Data
Conduct background research to obtain quick overviews, discover important issues and develop ideas for the focus of your research question. Use reference works and pay attention to current events.
Then: Refine Your Broad Topic
Considering the background data you collect, ask yourself some or all of the following questions:
- Can you limit the topic or background information by geography, date, gender, age or environment?
- What important people are discussed in this area of information?
- What specific aspects of this topic interest you?
- How much material appears to be available on the specific aspects of this topic? And in what formats?